The U.S. recreational boating industry has an annual economic impact of more than $121.5 billion, including direct, indirect and induced spending. More than 95% of boats sold in the U.S. are Made in the U.S.
Nationally, recreational boating supports 650,000 direct and indirect American jobs and 34,833 businesses.
Bron Beal, Executive Director of the Dallas Boat Expo, anchoring at Dallas Market Hall later this month, says, “Last year, more than 141 million Americans went boating, split between adults and children under the age of 18 years old, making it one of the most popular activities for U.S. families. And July 4th is, by far, one of the most boating-friendly holidays in North Texas.”
According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the top three most popular boating activities are fishing, swimming and entertaining. “One of the most important ways to keep this pastime fun and safe for everyone is by observing these key boating safety reminders from the Safe Boating Campaign,” says Beal.
- Always wear a life jacket. Drowning is the reported cause of death in 76 percent of all boating fatalities – and 84.5 percent of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket in 2017. Wearing a life jacket at all times while boating is the simplest safety step a boater can take, just like wearing a seat belt in a vehicle. Boaters can choose from a variety of U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets appropriate for their water activity.
- Never boat under the influence. Boating under the influence is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths. The side effects of alcohol or drug use, such as impaired judgment, reduced balance and poor coordination, are magnified while boating. Impairment can be even more dangerous for boaters than for drivers, since most boaters have less experience and confidence operating a boat than they do driving a car. The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, a partner of the Safe Boating Campaign, is coordinating Operation Dry Water from July 5-7 in every U.S. state and territory to raise awareness about BUI dangers.
- Use an engine cut-off device. An engine cut-off device is a proven safety device to stop the boat’s engine should the operator unexpectedly fall overboard. In 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 172 accidents in which at least one person was struck by a propeller. These accidents resulted in 31 deaths and 162 injuries, which may have been prevented if the boat operator was wearing an engine cutoff device.
*The Safe Boating Campaign is produced under a grant from the Sports Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund and administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. All statistics are from the U.S. Coast Guard.
About the United Boat Dealers of North Texas:
The United Boat Dealers of North Texas produces boat shows to support the boating and marine industry in the greater North Texas area; bring together people with a common interest in the boating lifestyle; promote, further and encourage the boating lifestyle through education and outreach programs; and provide each exhibitor with a fair and equal opportunity to conduct business with the public.
For more information about the DFW Boat Expo, which runs from July 18-21, 2019 at Dallas Market Hall, go to www.dallasboatexpo.com/; Connect on Facebook– www.facebook.com/dfwboatexpo; and Twitter – @dfwboatexpo.